The NFL is not messing around ahead of this year’s trade deadline.
With the New England Patriots’ Jimmy Garoppolo trade already drawing headlines, the Miami Dolphins one-upped them Tuesday morning by surprisingly trading running back Jay Ajayi to the Philadelphia Eagles for a fourth-round pick.
Ajayi has been underwhelming this season, with just 465 rushing yards on 138 attempts with zero touchdowns through seven games. But this is a guy who went in the top two rounds of many fantasy football drafts this season, so the impact of this trade is worth exploring for both parties involved.
Here’s how Ajayi’s move to Philly impacts fantasy contributors on the Dolphins and Eagles:
— Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams have combined for just 22 carries this season, but they’ll be asked to shoulder the load in Ajayi’s absence. We could see a timeshare here, but Drake appears in line for touches in the run game, while Williams, who has eight catches for 50 yards in 2017, could factor into the passing game.
Drake and Williams definitely should be on your radar, but given how bad Miami’s offensive line has been this season, both are nothing more than RB3 options until they prove otherwise.
— Ajayi owners should be excited about this trade. Philly boasts an excellent offensive line (even without left tackle Jason Peters) that’s produced 129.3 rushing yards per game, fifth-most in the NFL. You have to think Ajayi will be the Eagles’ No. 1 option ahead of LeGarrette Blount, and if he stays healthy, he could return to the RB1 many expected him to be this season.
— Blount’s stock takes a big hit here, as the bruising running back now is nothing more than a TD vulture. Given Ajayi’s injury history, though, it’s probably still worth keeping Blount around if you own him.
— Wendell Smallwood now is third on the depth chart, but if you’re in a deeper PPR league, don’t bail on him just yet. Ajayi isn’t much of a threat as a pass-catcher, meaning Smallwood still should serve in the Darren Sproles role as the Eagles’ top receiving threat out of the backfield.
— Carson Wentz should continue to ball, although the Ajayi trade doesn’t exactly boost his stock, as the Eagles could rely a bit more heavily on the run with Ajayi in the mix. To be clear, Wentz still is a solid QB1. But this does change Philly’s offensive attack a bit.
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